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How I became a foster carer

Posted by Heather Turner on 3rd, December, 2015
Relevant tags: #fostercarerstories #londonandkent

When I worked in a school I used to work with special needs children and met a young boy who chose to confide in me.  His mother was taking drugs and his brother wasn’t very nice to him, one day putting him in a bin upside down – he was there for hours until his mother found him!

I felt it was my duty to report that back to my boss, and two hours later social services came to take him away. He was hanging on to my arm and said: “Why can’t you be my mummy? Why can’t you be my mummy? Why can’t I stay with you?”. And that obviously played on my mind.

The school I worked at told me that the children in my class loved me too much, and moved me to another class. “How can you love someone too much?” I thought. At that point I decided to quit and become a foster carer.

Stephen, my husband, had always loved kids and had already enquired about becoming a foster carer.  He was going to do it first but then after a long conversation said to me: “why don’t you do it instead, you’ve got more experience”. 

Our first contact with Foster Care Associates (FCA) was by accident really – we had a routine appointment at the dentist in Faversham and next door was the regional FCA office. I said to Stephen: “we just passed a foster care company, I am going to see what’s happening”.

I walked in and was welcomed by two members of staff who enthusiastically talked to me and explained the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of fostering. Three days later a fostering advisor turned up at my door step and the application started. We were qualified four months later and we had our first foster child.

Our current foster child is from Kurdistan, he’s fantastic and great with other kids. Yes there have been ups and downs but mostly very rewarding times. Having a child from another religion and culture has meant that we’ve been introduced to different people we’d not normally have met, cooked different food, and I have even been to the mosque a few times and get invited to the Eid parties as we have a large circle of Muslim friends now.

I’m proud to have taught him how to speak English, how to write in the cursive style and many other things including learning how to drive. He teaches me things too, including how to cook his traditional dishes, and pick his favourite ingredients from the shops – he’s a good boy and a great help including doing all of my garden.

My advice for other carers:

Keep in contact with your social worker and don’t be afraid to ask anything and don’t be afraid to tell them that you’ve having problems, and try and keep in contact with other carers. Don’t expect too much from the children.

Many of the children I’ve looked after have returned to my house for advice.  One came back and asked me for help with getting him into the forces, as he wanted to be a chef. My advice was to go through the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and so he did, and he’s now a chef at the RFA!

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